Book Notes

There is an abundance of mythology available to humankind. Each culture's account of these tales, indeed each individual retelling is a combination of pre-existing symbols which have appeared in various forms around the world. The stories which will survive are those which fuse these symbols most adroitly.

Gathering images from the ancient Greece and the Greece of today Katerina and her daughter, Aegea have created an array of astonishing symbolism into one volume of literature. From Zeus's golden spy glass to the glory of his gift, to the almighty strength of his hand. The authors of "The Hand of Zeus", a picture book for children and adults alike, have given us further evidence and a reflection on our world's fascination with the arcane through the centuries.

But even these symbols are faint in comparison to what I believe to be "The Hand of Zeus's" common origin and shared purpose. The story of a people supernaturally involved in becomming an enchanted land is, in fact, a universal story - a story that clearly represents to us that greed and evil absolutely cannot destroy what is real and good.

There is a romantic idea that mythology comes from the people. It doesn't. Myths come from teachers, shamans, and visionaries who translate what they see and hear into ritual forms. Other visionaries then reinvent these forms and breathe new life into them as time passes. Such has been the destiny of "The Hand of Zeus". Beginning with a charmed Mother & Daughter's imaging of a tale, five years ago, and growing in passion with the Mother's expressive and elegant paintings, it may soon spread around the world, an original myth graced to burn its light for centuries.

Now as we begin a new century there is no argumant: "The Hand of Zeus" is powerful, if not indomitable. It has been created on its own, free to be shared, and rich in the promise to always exist and never have the virtue it symbolizes transcended.

--Cooper Edens

In The Hand of Zeus Aegea and Katerina Barclay have written a modern myth about the creation of Greece. In their telling Zeus, king of the Gods, is inspired by his love for his people to give something of his magic to them. But this is not enough for the greediest of them and they hatch a plot to overthrow Zeus. This ill formed plan is seen by the all knowing Zeus and his revenge on the perpetrators is a poetic lesson neatly reinforced by the shape of Greece and her many islands.

Like all myths The Hand of Zeus informs us about the elemental and symbolic in our world. It cautions us against over reaching and offers a poetic explanation for the wonders that surround us.

Katerina Barclay’s illustrations are a perfect compliment to the story. Her rich palette and symbolic representations suggest the ancient and folkloric. The paintings are influenced by the flat magical landscapes of Marc Chagall and the bold use of metallics by Gustav Klimt. Some of the paintings have the feel of complex mosaics while others remind one of ancient tapestries. The overall effect is such that the reader is rewarded with changing vistas and new insights every time he or she picks up the book.

--Benjamin Darling

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